Atoms are the smallest unit of ordinary matter. They are the building blocks of everything in the universe. Without the atom, there would be nothing. Habits are like atoms. They are the building blocks of our behaviour and identity. They may seem small, but they contribute to everything we do, from what we eat, to what we say, to how we work, to how we dress, and how we conduct ourselves in different situations. Everything we do contributes to how we show up each day.
How do you show up each day? Is what you’re doing reflective of the kind of person you want to be? Is what you’re doing helping or hindering your progress to your ‘true’ identity?
The Plateau of Latent Potential
The Plateau of Latent Potential is also known as the Valley of Disappointment. You might feel like you’re doing everything right, but nothing appears to be changing. That there is a lag between what you are doing and the results you are working towards. For actions to make a meaningful difference, one must persist long enough to break through the plateau.
Waiting to see results is like waiting for an ice cube to melt. You put the hard work in, like increasing the temperature in the room from 25 to 31 degrees, but no change occurs until the temperature reaches 32 degrees. You must push through the plateau and break through the threshold to see change. For example, when you’re training and you feel like you need to stop, that’s your body reaching the threshold. To progress, you must push beyond that threshold. The body is an amazing thing. Resilient, adaptable, and strong. So, when you start something new, just remember you’ve only just taken the ice cube out of the freezer. Work is required to change it from one state to another.
It can take time to see results when starting a new habit and so immediate rewards, which will keep you on track, are essential. Immediate rewards must align with the new identity you are wanting to create. Instead of rewarding yourself with ice cream after a workout, have a bubble bath or get a massage.
Let’s focus on ‘non-scale victories’ (NSV). These are exactly as they sound. Results you achieve that are not quantified by, for example, the scales.
Some NSVs include feeling more energised, meal planning and prepping for the week, completing your food diary, attending a group session, setting aside time each day for self-care, your clothes fitting “better”. All of these actions and feelings are stepping stones to who you want to become. Yes, they also contribute to achieving your initial goal, whatever it may be, but the more you do or experience them, the more you cement them as part of your identity, and they will surpass your original goal and simply become part of who you are. You must decide the person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins.
The aggregation of marginal gains
‘The aggregation of marginal gains’ is the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. You have a friends birthday dinner at their favourite Italian restaurant which is planned on Friday night. Don’t mark the whole day as a write-off. Perhaps you go for an extra walk to counter the carbohydrate-heavy meal you will likely eat. Or you ensure you drink two litres of water throughout the day, so you’re hydrated and less likely to eat or drink too much. It’s all about balance and ensuring you’re setting yourself up to continue making progress while not depriving yourself of the things you enjoy.
Community and Belonging
Speaking of doing things you enjoy, you can build better habits by joining groups that have similar values, goals, and interests so that you are surrounded by people who share your passion for change and improvement. Maintaining a feeling of belonging helps to sustain motivation towards change and being part of a community helps sustain ideal behaviours. Vision prides itself on building communities, inspiring change, and transforming lives. We are dedicated to seeing you through your journey, whatever it may involve.
“The more a habit becomes part of your life, the less you need outside encouragement to follow through.”
Click here to read Part 3.